There was a decent turnout to the Masterton Scrabble Club’s Royal Scrabble Day tournament in Featherston. PHOTOS/SUPPLIED

JOHN LAZO-RON
john.lazo-ron@age.co.nz

A maiden Wairarapa scrabble tournament in Featherston has rekindled interest in the renowned board game among word lovers in the region.

More than 25 word-wizards from Wellington and Wairarapa showed up at the Royal Hotel in Featherston on July 25 for the Masterton Scrabble Club’s ‘Royal Scrabble Day’.

The Royal Scrabble Day, the club’s inaugural competition since it was founded in November last year, was set as a ‘fun’ tournament for players of all levels, with four different categories put in place.

So nobody would feel out of their depth, players were allocated to those groups based on experience.

Close to half the field were playing in their first Scrabble tournament but managed to keep up with the game’s quick pace.

National A-grade scrabble player Nick Ascroft from Wellington competed at the Royal Scrabble Day in Featherston.

Tournament organiser and founder of the Masterton Scrabble Club Sue McRae said Royal Scrabble Day was about providing an opportunity for some of their newest members to experience their first tournament in a fun atmosphere.

“This was special because we hadn’t done one before because the club’s quite new and we’re trying to give people an experience of what a tournament is like without putting them off,” she said.

“If you go to a proper tournament, it’s all very serious with scrabble having very strict rules around timing and adjudication, so we wanted to hold a fun tournament for members where that pressure isn’t on them.”

“We also just wanted to show people what it’s like to play all day because most of them only play for an hour or two on a Wednesday afternoon.

“It was great and people really got into the spirit of the occasion.”

Some players who competed at Royal Scrabble Day got dressed for the occasion.

Some players dressed up for the occasion while the Royal Hotel provided a suitably regal backdrop.

Spot prizes were awarded in each round for things like the highest-scoring word or best ‘vowel motion’ [word full of vowels].

Businesses ‘C’est Cheese’ and ‘For the Love of Books’ provided some of the spot prizes, while the venue arranged a special lunch deal and sponsored one of the main prizes.

Although it wasn’t what you would call your typical scrabble tournament, Royal Scrabble Day still managed to draw some big-time Scrabble players, with national A-grade players Nick Ascroft and Howard Warner [New Zealand’s number one] getting in the mix on the day.

McRae said it was an enjoyable day all round, and that it went better than expected, but it was what happened post-tournament that really took her by surprise.

On the following Wednesday, when the club gathered for scrabble games at Masterton Library, the turnout was their most significant so far.

“Surprisingly, I thought everyone would have had enough scrabble for a week after all day scrabble on Sunday,” she said.

“But on Wednesday, we had the biggest turnout since we started, so Royal Scrabble Day definitely helped get more people addicted to the game.”

Due to the tournament’s success, McRae said the club would look into staging its next tournament in the near future.

  • The club gathers every Wednesday at the Masterton Library from 1pm to 4pm and welcomes players of all levels.


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